Off to the races

Sailors cross-country team opens season at home Saturday

— It wasn't a part of the plan when the Steamboat Springs High School cross country team started preparing for the 2001 season.

But after the opening meet of the year in Leadville was canceled last weekend because of snow, the Sailors quickly realized that Howelsen Hill would be the team's first stop.

"It looks like we are going to be opening at home," Sailors coach John Smith said. "We would have liked to have one meet under our belt, but Mother Nature didn't cooperate."

So the team, which has been training for more than a month, was forced to wait another week and will be rewarded with one of the most challenging races of the season on Saturday.

"This will be the most challenging race we compete in all season," Smith said. "It's challenging because that's the way we want it.

The 5-kilometer course will be set up at the base of Howelsen Hill along the same route as the World Cup Nordic Combined course.

The events will open with a citizens race at 8:30 a.m. That event will give locals a chance to head out on the course prior to the start of the high school race.

It will be followed by the start of the girls event at 9:30 a.m. and the boys which will get underway at 10 a.m.

Smith said the junior varsity and varsity teams will run at the same time along the same course.

The meet will feature six teams from around the region including 3A powerhouse Aspen, league foe Rifle, and top front range schools like Chatfield and Grand Junction Central.

Smith said there should be about 60 runners in each race.

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